Golden Circle & Kerid Crater One-day tour
Our partner: Reykjavik Excursions
Our partner: Reykjavik Excursions
No matter how much reading or preparation you’ve done for your dream destination, there’s nothing that really substitutes a well-organized guided tour. But we know travelling in large groups of people is not everybody´s cup of tea. For those who prefer more time with their guide, a little more flexibility in the schedule and to enjoy the experience in their own company, our private tours are the perfect fit.
The Golden Circle is Iceland’s most popular tour and has been for a long time. What used to be a convenient Sunday drive with the family for locals in Reykjavik, is now a top-selling international tour. This isn’t due to any kind of marketing ploy or agenda. The Golden Circle is made up of three amazing locations that are truly glorious, historically important and geologically unique. And it just so happens that they’re all conveniently situated near Reykjavik City.
A green oasis of mossy lava fields with crystal clear fissures, enough history to binge on for months and mind-blowing crevasses between two tectonic plates. Þingvellir (Thingvellir) is the original site of the Icelandic parliament, Alþingi, the world’s oldest running parliament. It’s where Viking lords gathered to do their business, make all their big decisions and settle their scores. It is a very important location in Iceland, given its historical importance, its geological uniqueness and its incredible natural beauty.
The area is dotted with hot springs and geysers that range in size, colour and function. Some are bubbling, some are enormous, some erupt in huge columns every few minutes and others are such a rich shade of blue that it seems like an optical illusion. Two hot springs steal the show here. One is the Great Geysir himself, the huge hot spring that all the other geysers are named after. Geysir, reported to have erupted in columns up to 170 meters high, is semi-retired in his old age which is where his little brother Strokkur comes in and puts on a great show every few minutes. The area makes most visitors wish they paid more attention in physics class so it helps to have a guide present to explain all the geological voodoo going on.
10 minutes away from Geysir is Gullfoss or “the golden waterfall”. Iceland is rife with huge, awe-inspiring and magical waterfalls but Gullfoss has a very special place in the hearts of Icelanders. This is a big, bouldering waterfall with immense presence in a glorious setting but it’s neither the longest nor the most powerful waterfall in Iceland. So, what makes Gullfoss so special? It is a sort of emblem for the natural wonder that is Iceland after it was nearly dammed up for a hydroelectric powerplant in the early 20th century. The political debates went on for decades and are remarkable also for the attitudes of conservation that emerged at the time. People had an emotional connection to this landmark and at one point the waterfall’s landowner is quoted to have said: “I don’t sell my friends” when pressed to sell the land for a powerplant. For whatever reason, few who visit Gullfoss leave untouched.
The private tour has a more flexible schedule so the group can decide how much time is spent at each location. It also means that there’s time for a fourth bonus destination en route. Kerid (e. Maar) is a picturesque volcanic crater in the South of Iceland. The colourful crater sports bright red lava stones, green moss and a sky blue lake in the middle. The lake is 55 m deep and the crater itself is 3,000 years old. Kerid is one of those places that look more like an illustration in a children's book than an actual place, which is probably why we call it a natural wonder.
The UNESCO site Þingvellir National Park is geologically and
historically significant. Apart from being the location of the oldest
parliament in the world, Alþingi, which was formed in 930. it is also a place
where you can see the Mid-Atlantic ridge above ground. The Eurasian and
North-American tectonic plates pull the country apart by a couple of
centimetres per year.
Gullfoss is one of the most
famous waterfalls in Iceland and rightly so. The three-step waterfall is a part
of the glacial river Hvítá and falls into a 62-metre (203 ft.) deep canyon.
Geysir geothermal area is in
South Iceland, near Laugarvatn Lake. The area is named after the biggest, and
now mostly dormant, geyser Geysir and all geysers in the world owe their name
to it. The biggest attraction today is the active Strokkur, which shoots up a
column of water up to 30 metres (98 ft.) into the air every few minutes.